The Reelist is a column featuring Kristen Page-Kirby’s musings on movies. For Washington Post film critic Mark Jenkins’s review of “Home Again,” click here.
I will not go see “It.” This is not a value judgment of “It.” I will not see “It” because it is a horror movie and I know it will scare the crap out of me, like most horror movies do.
It is, of course, unfair to dismiss movies by genre. Saying, “I don’t like musicals” means you’re dismissing a wide swath of movies. Think about it: If you don’t like musicals, you don’t like “The Wizard of Oz,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and nearly every animated movie Disney has ever made. When a genre includes both “Cabaret” and “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut,” dismissing it entirely is akin to saying, “I don’t like potatoes.” You might not like mashed potatoes (what is wrong with you?), but potatoes come in so many forms that somehow, somewhere, there is a potato for you.
The musical genre isn’t the only one that’s dismissed — plenty of people say they don’t like Westerns, don’t like action movies, don’t like foreign films, and on and on. I feel comfortable saying, though, that one of the most maligned categories is the romantic comedy. Which brings us to “Home Again.”
“Home Again” is certainly marketed as a rom-com, and that’s not entirely off-base. Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is a 40-year-old woman who returns to her (dead) father’s palatial house in L.A. after leaving her New York-based husband (Michael Sheen). Through a set of drunken circumstances, she invites three struggling filmmakers (Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky and Pico Alexander) to live in her guesthouse. The four become an ad hoc family, with the men pitching in with home repairs and driving her two daughters to various lessons, and with Alexander’s (much younger) Harry hooking up with Alice pretty regularly. So pretty normal rom-com stuff, save that the woman is over 27 and there are four guys — including her husband — in the mix, all of whom have some sort of feelings for Alice.
Here’s the thing, though: “Home Again” isn’t exactly a rom-com. Its end goal isn’t necessarily a man and a woman finding each other, but a woman finding and redefining herself. Skipping “Home Again” because you “don’t like romantic comedies” will only deny you a lively, funny, surprisingly touching film.
So back to “It.” Admittedly, I’m not seeing it for the worst of reasons: I don’t like horror films. Except when I do. Not the gory, jump-scare-filled ones, but I really liked “The Cabin in the Woods” and “The Others” (which admittedly is more suspense) and “Psycho.” I avoided “Get Out,” but it’s next on my list to watch. And I might even see “It” one day. Between my fingers.
By not giving a film a try simply because of its genre, you might deprive yourself of something you end up loving. Remember that not all musicals are cheesy, not all horror films are terrifying, not all rom-coms are mindless and not all potatoes are mashed. Just as you might not like everything in a genre (I love musicals but hate “Mamma Mia!”), you might find a hidden treasure if you take a chance — and maybe a tiny little bite.
More Reelists from Kristen Page-Kirby